Updated: May 13, 2020
We are in the new year and now I ask you, how is your resolution going? If you’re like 99% of Americans (a percentage I made up, but must be close) I would assume you have failed miserably at your resolution. You have not started the progress to losing that precious fifteen pounds and you are not on pace to start speaking that second language. Like most Americans, laziness has taken over and most likely stopped you from even starting your resolution. Ever wonder why we do this? Let’s just say we made some adaptations throughout history.
The first resolution was made over 4000 years ago! It was made by the ancient Babylonians. The Babylonians were not making a resolution to improve their self-image, no they were not selfish, they were making resolutions to benefit everyone. They were also the first group to celebrate the new year. However, it was not the typical first of January. The resolutions that they made, and the date that they celebrated, both made a lot more sense. It was mid-March. The reasoning behind mid-March was that this is when they planted all their new crops, signaling a the new year for these crops. They celebrated this new year over a 12 day religious event which was called Akitu. During this 12 day celebration, they made what we call today “New Year’s Resolutions”. They all made the same resolution. They made a promise to the gods to pay off all their debts and return anything that they had borrowed. If they were to carry out this promise they felt that would be in the good grace of the gods and their crops would flourish bringing blessings to all their people.
So why the first of January? This started back in the ancient Roman times. Julius Caesar thought it would be a good idea to tinker with the calendar. It was he who rearranged it, declaring January the first month of the year based off the two faced god who inhabits doorways (what?) named Janus. The Romans continued with resolutions, however their resolutions were about making sacrifices to Janus to start the year off well. Resolutions that we know of today started in the 1700’s. Christians would make resolutions for self improvement. Typically, they were spiritual, to become a better person, but this is the first recorded time that we have resolutions for self improvement.
So let us recap here. Over 4000 years ago, people tried to make everyone happier and make the standard of living better for all by celebrating new years with new crops. Paying debts with hopes the gods would keep them in their good graces, making the crops have a good year. Julius Caesar then comes along and says March? Yeah, fuck March. This god Janus is in doorways, and doorways go both ways, so this god looks forward and backwards. New year’s is now dedicated to this god. Let’s make sacrifices! Because of this bold move, we have the most arbitrary date to celebrate the new year.
As a whole our society is very selfish and self involved. So we take these “sacrifices” and make some of our own. Most people’s resolutions today are to get in better shape. So this makes January one of the most obnoxious months for social media. All these people claiming they are going to change and go to the gym and better themselves. Our generation loves to post annoying pictures and statuses of this. Good for you, the world does not care that you are trying to get to a healthy weight. Do it for you, not Facebook.
Gyms totally take advantage of us here too. They all have a new year’s sale that will give you a great price. Of course it has a catch. You want to pay this little amount per month? Great sign here and you can pay us that amount all year.
Although it may sound like I am, I am not against resolutions. If you need this arbitrary day to say to yourself “hey I need to make a change for the better” than good for you. What I’m saying is why wait until the new year? Why do you need to say new year new me? Let’s change. How about start today, new day new me. Go out and better yourself for you, not for an archaic ritual that has changed completely over the years.
So now I ask you this, did you make a resolution? How is your progress? Let me know over on twitter I’m @Big_Broons